YouTube vs. Facebook: How do they compare for video marketing?

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Video marketing is becoming a heavy hitter for marketing strategies today. In Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing 2019, 83% of marketers say video gives them a good ROI, and 99% of marketers will continue to use video in 2019.


A video is a way for brands to tell their story and become more engaged with their consumers. These videos can be used to increase user understanding of products and services, increase traffic to your website, generate leads, and reduce the amount of support calls your team receives.


The two largest video marketing platforms today are YouTube and Facebook. Currently, YouTube remains the largest, but Facebook is right at their heels. In the same survey, 87% of video marketers have used YouTube (flat from 2018), and 84% have used Facebook (up from 68% in 2018).


Video marketers use these sites because they have the lowest barrier to entry. Anyone can use them because YouTube and Facebook have created these platforms to be as intuitive as possible.




Since YouTube solely contains video content, it was an instant fit for video marketing. They are the most budget-friendly option for reaching a mass amount of people.


Video Preparation and Development


YouTube has a step by step guide on how to create a video from start to finish. They cover how to prep your story, shoot your video ad and edit your ad, all while giving examples of how real companies have done it. 


Not only do they help you with the creative, but also the operations behind creating the video. YouTube has a list of companies that offer particular developing and editing video marketing services so if you have room in your budget, you can shop out the services that you would feel more comfortable having a professional do.


Remember how I said that anyone can use this?


Defining your Video Marketing Goals


One of the first things you need to do before you get started is to define your goal. What exactly do you want to gain from launching a video ad campaign? YouTube takes this into consideration to place your ads in the right place at the right time. They simply ask, “What’s your marketing goal?” You can choose from:


1.     Brand awareness and ad recall – Get the attention of potential customers and aim to be the top of mind brand

2.     Grow consideration and interest – Influence potential customers when they shaping their opinion on a particular issue in the world

3.     Drive action – Catch your potential customers when they are in the process of making a decision and influence them to take a meaningful, measurable action


This means that you can target users that are watching how-to videos, which encompass half of YouTube’s viewers. Your brand can be a solution to your potential customers by helping them overcome the challenge or task they are faced with. From a StoryBrand perspective, that’s exactly the way you should be communicating with your audience!


Targeting your Audience


YouTube’s advertising platform makes it incredibly easy to target exactly who sees your video. Here is a condensed list of YouTube’s targeting methods for video ads:


·       Demographic groups

·       Detailed demographics

·       Interests

·       Video remarketing

·       Placements

o   Channels

o   Videos

o   Apps

o   Websites

·       Topics

·       Keywords

·       Devices


This expansive list of targeting options makes it easy for your company to test out what works best and tweak your ad campaign along the way to reach the right audience.




YouTube really makes your budget work in a powerful way during your video ad campaign. Since they fall under the Google umbrella, they have adopted the same style of ad billing. YouTube only charges you when a viewer watches the entire length of your ad or engages with the ad. That means every time a viewer hits the “skip ad” button, you just got 5 to 29 seconds of exposure to a potential customer without being charged for it.


YouTube’s video ad cost structure makes it incredibly efficient for evaluating your ROI. It helps to ensure that the most meaningful audience viewed and engaged with your ad, giving you the ability to measure exactly how well the ad campaign performed versus other marketing efforts.


YouTube Video Marketing Success Stories


Seeing other companies put all of this into action and run with it on YouTube is a great way to get inspiration for your video marketing campaign. It also helps you see how other companies in your industry are doing it so you can figure out how to develop a better message than your competition.


Tuft & Needle


This is a company that went from bootstrap startup to $100 million in sales in 5 years, all while using YouTube as their video marketing platform. Check out what the founders of this direct-to-consumer mattress company had to say about their experience with YouTube video ads:


“We’ve definitely seen an impact with YouTube. We started our company five years ago with just $6,000. We did $100 million in sales last year and about a million people will be sleeping on a Tuft & Needle mattress by year’s end. We believe that we’ll be able to continue scaling our company to the size we can become using YouTube the entire way. We absolutely feel like we’re living the American dream.”


Daehee Park and JT Marino, Founders, Tuft & Needle



Majestic Heli Ski

For companies that sell life-changing experiences, pictures and words just don’t cut it. Majestic Heli Ski was founded by an Army vet in Alaska that loves delivering the most breathtaking and earth-shattering ski experience imaginable. This company saw massive success with their video marketing campaign.


“You know, you say a picture is worth a thousand words? A video is worth a million. They see the lodge, the dinners, the skiing – and they get it. Plus, YouTube leveled the playing field by allowing me to reach customers that would otherwise look at some of the more established businesses. That's helped us boost our customer base by more than 400% over the last five years and increase sales around 25% each year since starting on YouTube. So we know our marketing dollars are well spent.”


Njord Rota, Owner, Majestic Heli Ski




While YouTube is a very user-friendly platform, it may take longer for some advertisers to understand all the features that come with the platform. A lot of us have YouTube accounts, yet have never uploaded a video. This may be the case for a lot of advertisers as well, so the time it takes to actually learn how YouTube works needs to be factored in.


YouTube does not require viewers to have an account on its platform in order to view videos. This will need to be considered when you're measuring the results of your campaign. If you are targeting based on demographics, this may cause some issues in the effectiveness of reaching your potential customers.



Video marketing statistics may show YouTube as the #1 video marketing platform, but Facebook is quickly catching up and sits in the #2 spot today. This platform is vastly different from YouTube in that video content isn’t the only form of content on Facebook.


You will notice a lot of similarities between YouTube and Facebook when it comes to developing and launching your video marketing campaign.


Video Preparation and Development


Facebook has a how-to page on creating videos from start to finish all from your phone. These instructions are laid out in bite-size chunks that are simple to understand. Helpful videos are layered in along the way to show you how real companies have created their videos, what apps/software they used, and how they deployed it successfully.  


This how-to page also contains a section on how to create certain styles of videos with apps like Boomerang and Legend so you can stay up-to-date on your video delivery style.


Defining your Video Marketing Goals


In order to run an ad on Facebook, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with Ads Manager. The first step in creating a new campaign is to select your marketing objective. Facebook has 3 objective categories, each of which has multiple sub-objectives to choose from.


·       Awareness

o   Brand awareness

o   Reach


·       Consideration

o   Traffic

o   Engagement

o   App installs

o   Video views

o   Lead generation

o   Messages


·       Conversion

o   Conversions

o   Catalog sales

o   Store traffic


Having this amount of choices is very helpful if you have a very specific goal in mind for your video ads. Due to Facebook’s algorithm being so advanced, it takes your objective and uses that as the driving factor to help you achieve meaningful results for your ad campaign.


Targeting your Audience


Facebook Ads Manager lets you target your ads to a very specific audience by allowing you to get as granular as possible. Since Facebook requires all of its users to have an account, it eliminates the issue of not knowing exactly the type of person sees your ads. You are able to target your audience based on any combination of the following:


·       Demographic groups

·       Detailed demographics

·       Interests

·       Your page’s followers (and their friends)

·       App remarketing

·       Event remarketing

·       Placements

o   Channels

o   Videos

o   Apps

o   Websites


Depending on how detailed you get, this process can become time-consuming to figure out. Facebook lets you save and label your audiences once you're done to use for future ad campaigns.




Facebook operates on an ad auction style of billing, which has a bit more moving parts compared to YouTube’s billing process. In the ad auction, you are competing with other ads for the prime spots. Facebook combines your total spend, estimated action rates, and ad quality/relevance when determining who sees your ad.


When you first begin your video marketing campaign, Facebook requires that all new accounts spend their first $10 on impressions, or how many people see your ad. You can switch this to engagement, or pay per click after you've spent your first $10.


Facebook Video Marketing Success Stories


Similar to YouTube, Facebook also showcases company success stories to show marketers how other similar companies have succeeded in using their platform.


Baked NYC

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Storefronts in NYC have a pretty steep price tag attached, and small businesses like bakeries need to be competitive and creative in order to survive in that market. Baked NYC is a bakery and café that saw huge success with their video marketing campaign on Facebook.


“I can sum up [Facebook] Mobile Studio’s impact with one word: simplicity. We were impressed with how easy it is to put together assets beyond static shots—and just as important, how to give new life to existing assets. Now, we’ve become mini creative directors with tons of ideas. And for businesses, it’s always good to have lots of creative energy.”


Matt Lewis, co-owner/co-founder, Baked NYC





Healthy living is more popular today than it ever has been, especially since it’s so easy to see others living healthy lifestyles on social media. Inspiralized decided to make a tool to enable people to eat healthier, and they told the world about it through a Facebook video ad campaign.


“I was excited to see how much engagement the video ads generated, and loved reading the comments on Facebook. I was also extremely happy to see how the campaign impacted sales—we even sold out on some of our purchasing outlets!”


Ali Maffuci Cerda, founder, Inspiralized




The major drawback for Facebook’s video marketing platform is that it requires users to learn and master Ads Manager in order to run a campaign. Ads Manager is a more robust ad tool that will require most users to spend a decent amount of time just learning its capabilities.


Since video content only makes up a percentage of the total content shared on Facebook, it requires additional effort to get the same results one would see from a well-executed campaign on YouTube. This is why Facebook hasn’t been able to get the edge on YouTube for video marketing preference among marketers.

Who’s Better: YouTube or Facebook?


You can see that each platform has its own unique strengths and drawbacks. Now that we’ve gone through each platform and understand how to use them, which one is better? The answer: they both are.


Both YouTube and Facebook take you through a similar process to develop your concept, film your ad, and deploy it in a way that makes the most sense for your budget. Both YouTube and Facebook give you metrics to analyze after your campaign has ended so you can measure your ROI. Both YouTube and Facebook have had companies nail their video campaigns and grow their brands using their platform.


Try both and see which one works better for your company. Once you know how each platform works, you can determine how each of your video ad campaigns should be deployed in the future.